A professor and specialist in health will be the University of Suffolk's next vice-chancellor.

Prof Jenny Higham will be taking over from Prof Helen Langton MBE, following the latter announcing that she will be stepping down this summer. 

The new vice-chancellor is the first woman to serve as the principal of St George's, University of London and is also a visiting professor at Imperial College London. 

Prof Higham said: "I am excited about the opportunities my new role presents, having watched the University’s development under Professor Langton’s leadership and its increasing contribution to the region’s economic, social and cultural growth.  

Ipswich Star: Helen Langton is stepping downHelen Langton is stepping down (Image: Gregg Brown/UoS)

“On a personal note, having spent my youth in Norfolk, I am thrilled to be returning to the East of England, where I have many friends and family.”

Prof Higham also has national responsibilities, such as sitting on the boards of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and Universities UK (UUK) and being a council member for the All-Party Parliamentary University Group.  

University of Suffolk has a student population of more than 19,00 students, with campuses spread across the towns of Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft and Greater Yarmouth. 

Prof Langton took over the reins when the university was still fairly new and oversaw its rise from being one of the lowest in terms of student satisfaction to one of the mid-table universities. 

She also helped bring an international link to the university with 5,000 students in sub-Saharan Africa studying online.

Ipswich Star: The University of Suffolk on Ipswich WaterfrontThe University of Suffolk on Ipswich Waterfront (Image: Archant)

Chair of the University of Suffolk board, Ian Ailles, said: “Professor Langton is a hard act to follow, having built our reputation as a modern and transformative university, growing our research profile, our campus and our partnerships with health, business and our community.”

He added: “Professor Higham’s expertise in leadership and health, combined with her wider contributions to the sector, make her the ideal choice to lead the next phase of our University’s growth and development.